Floridian Nature

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Florida Fish: Snook
Fat snook often found in Florida mangrovesFat Snook (Centropomus parallelus) Snook are inshore fish with an attitude. They are generally a golden yellow in color with a dark black lateral line (stripe) running the length of their body. Their mouth is similar to a large mouth bass' size & shape, yet their gills are razor sharp so watch out when handling these guys. The fat snook has a deeper body than other snooks. The color of the fat snook is yellow-brown to green-brown above, with a silvery shade on it's sides. The standard black lateral line, found on all snook extends onto it's tail. Fat snook usually have no dusky outer edge on pelvic fin, and this snook has the smallest scales of all snooks. A small fish the fat snook averages on 20 inches in length.  In East Central Florida waters we have a lot of common and fat snook. Snook spawn primarily in summer, and cannot tolerate water temperatures below 60 degrees F. Occurring in shallow coastal waters up to 66 feet  in depth, such as  estuaries, and lagoons, the snook often enters fresh water. Fat snook are often found near mangroves along the coastline. The mangroves often serve as a nursery for young fat snook.

common snook found off the coast of FloridaCommon Snook (Centropomus undecimalis)Snook are inshore fish with an attitude. They are generally a golden yellow in color with a dark black lateral line (stripe) running the length of their body. The common snook may also possess bright yellow pelvic and caudal fins especially during spawn. Their mouth is similar to a large mouth bass' size & shape, yet their gills are razor sharp so watch out when handling these guys. One of the largest snooks, the common snook grows to a maximum overall length of 140 cm (4 ft 7 in) and a maximum recorded weight of 24 kg (54 pounds). This species is native to the coastal waters of the western Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, from southern Florida and Texas to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. In East Central Florida waters there are a lot of  both common and fat snook. Snook spawn primarily in summer; and cannot tolerate water temperatures below 60 degrees F. Occurring in shallow coastal waters up to 66 feet  in depth, such as  estuaries, and lagoons, the snook often enters fresh water. It is carnivorous, with a diet dominated by smaller fishes, and crustaceans such as shrimps, and occasionally crabs. Considered an excellent food fish, the common snook is fished commercially and raised in aquaculture although it is not available for sale in the US. It is also prized as a game fish, being known for their great fighting capabilities. The common snook is also known as the sergeant fish or róbalo.


swordspine snook found in southern Florida's manrovesSwordspine Snook (Centropomus ensiferus) The smallest of the snooks, the swordspine snook's profile is slightly concave. The swordspine snook has the prominent lateral line outlined in black that extends through it's caudal fin that all snook have. It's color is yellow-green to brown-green above and silvery below. The swordspine snook has a giant second anal spine, hence the name. it also has the largest scales of all snook. Their mouth is similar to a large mouth bass' size & shape, yet their gills are razor sharp so watch out when handling these guys. Swordspine snook average only about 12 inches in length and about a pound in weight. The tarpon and swordspine are more frequent in South Florida. Swordspine snook are found from south Florida to as far north onthe east coast as the St. Lucie River. The swordspine snook is rarely found on the west coast of Florida and prefers only slightly brackish waters. Snook spawn primarily in summer; and cannot tolerate water temperatures below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. It can tolerate wholly fresh or saltwater. schools of swordspine snook are found along the shore and in passes during spawning season. This fish feeds on  other fish and large crustaceans.

tarpon snook found in magroves in Southern FloridaTarpon Snook (Centropomus pectinatus) Snook are inshore fish with an attitude. They are generally a golden yellow in color with a dark black lateral line (stripe) running the length of their body. The tarpon snook is the only snook that has seven anal fins, all the other snook have only six. Their mouth is similar to a large mouth bass' size & shape, yet their gills are razor sharp so watch out when handling these guys. Tarpon snook are found near in the Western Atlantic Ocean, from southern Florida, Mexico, and the West Indies to Brazil. The tarpon and swordspine are more frequent in South Florida. Snook spawn primarily in summer; and cannot tolerate water temperatures below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Tarpon snook can tolerate wholly fresh or saltwater. Young snook are nurtured along mangrove shorelines and you will often find schools along the shore and in passes during spawning season. The tarpon snook feeds on small fish and larger crustaceans.
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